Boynton father accused of illegally taking toddler to be released

The Boynton Beach man accused of taking his 3-year-old daughter from her mother will be released from jail, but cannot have contact with the little girl, a Palm Beach County judge said Tuesday morning.

Palm Beach County Court Judge Caroline Shepherd ordered Michael Ng Ojeda, who faces one count of interfering with custody of a child, be released on his own recognizance. Boynton police say Ng Ojeda, 41, was “malicious” and interfered with Oriana Rodriguez’s custody rights to their daughter, Michelle.

Outside court, Ng Ojeda’s attorney Jonathan Wald said the matter between his client and Rodriguez is a custody issue and that he doesn’t expect the criminal case to go far. The pair, who dated for seven years until their split in September, did not have a formal custody agreement.

Wald said Ng Ojeda came to Palm Beach County from Venezuela this summer with his daughter and with the permission of the mother. The mother later followed them and they all lived together until the separation, Wald said.

Wald’s next step is to file paperwork to grant partial custody to his client.

On Saturday, Ng Ojeda told Rodriguez he wanted to see Michelle before a week-long business trip. He picked Michelle up at about 5:20 Saturday evening from Rodriguez’ home off Congress Avenue, south of Miner Road in Boynton Beach. He promised to have Michelle back by 8 p.m. and the pair left in his red Ford Mustang.

Rodriguez wouldn’t see her daughter for another two days. The pair was reunited at about 5:30 Monday evening at Boynton Beach Police Department headquarters. Ng Ojeda’s lawyer brought the toddler to her mother, police said.

Rodriguez told police Ng Ojeda moved out of their home in September and had been acting “irrational and aggressive” in the last month, according to the police report.

She said she was hesitant to let Ng Ojeda take her because she’s normally present when he visits her.

Ng Ojeda wasn’t found until two hours later. He was arrested by the U.S. Marshals South Florida Fugitive Task Force at his mother’s Delray Beach home on charges of interfering with custody.

Police noted in their report that when they spoke with Ng Ojeda’s family before they found him that they did not know where he was.

Police said Ng Ojeda also turned his cell phone off while they searched for him and his daughter.

Outside of the courtroom, Ng Ojeda’s brother, also named Michael, said he thought the case was blown of proportion by police and the media. He said his brother is a good man.

“I just think it’s pretty crazy how this story has been blown up so big when he’s the father of the daughter, he’s just spending time with the daughter,” he said of his brother’s situation.

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